Sew, What's New?

Curating sewing and quilting talent, techniques, and tutorials, since 1997.

Sewing garments with knit fabrics - The Babydoll

My first knit garment is going to be my version of this Babydoll dress from the book Sew U Home Stretch by Wendy Mullin.  I made the necessary pattern alterations and a muslin in my previous post.This is the knit fabric I bought for it from e-bay, it's a cotton jersey, viscose and lycra mix . It's rather thin and slippery, and I hope I can cope with it.  I laid out the pattern, weighed down with my button jars again and cut out the pieces with a rotary blade.  I transferred all the markings onto the wrong side with my frixion pen.  I re-read my notes from making the muslin, and I'm ready to sew!

I used the 3 thread overlocker stitch to make the shoulder seam and apply the elastic around the neck.  As I didn't buy any 1/4" elastic I used the clear stuff again, even though it's wider than suggested.  (I must try putting some 1/4" elastic through the taping foot another time to see if it works.)

This fabric is much thinner than the stretch fleece I used for my muslin, so I used tissue paper under it to stitch the 2 rows of gathering stitches for the sleeve tops.  It all came off quite easily afterwards, without disturbing the stitches.  I pinned the sleeves in place at either end then pulled up the gathers until they matched the bodice and overlocked the seam.

I was a bit nervous of using the overlocker on the waist seam, so I used my sewing machine's stretch stitch to join them.  I didn't need tissue for this as it was quite thick. When I was happy the seam was okay and the gathers even, I overlocked it.  The front and back were joined next.

I used a piece of card cut 1" wide to help turn up and press the hem after overlocking it.  I used twin stretch needles to topstitch the hem and did the same with the sleeves, for a Mock Cover Stitch look.  The final job was turning under the neckline and topstitching it.

Which is where it all went horribly wrong.  I had trouble turning it as the elastic was too wide, and even turned and with the elastic in it, it was too thin and slippery for my walking foot to make good stitches.  I had to unpick it all, trim the clear elastic to 1/4" and then stitch it again, this time with tissue paper underneath it.  That done I gave it a good steam press, and it was fine.  I was so relieved I hadn't damaged the fabric or stretched it out of shape!

My first ever knit garment - my new Babydoll Dress!

The whole point of Wendy's book is to give you the basic stucture, then demonstrate how you can change it to make the garment YOU want.  The Babydoll is made by making a few alterations to the Basic Dress pattern in chapter 8.  I chose to leave the back neckline unchanged, and only dropped the front neckline 3" instead of 5".  I also left the sleeves full length instead of 3/4 length, as I wanted this as a winter dress.  

It's light, comfortable and warm and I love it.  I am so pleased with it, and myself for making it, it's turned out so well!  I have some fabric left, which should be enough for a top, but in the meantime I will go back to my Craftsy Course Sewing With Knits: 5 Wardrobe Essentials with Meg McElwee (and finish watching it this time!) before trying to make her Surplice Dress.  

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